Monday, March 31, 2008

Missionary Sweets

Dust red eyes
huddle in charcoal smoke
under a Jacaranda tree.
Our matatu taxi
has already passed this glow,
and now another,
blackened corn and bananas
grilled with plastic ash.

We bump and slow, 
candy tossed like doves in the air
above good toothless soil.

The street boys clamor,
soap and tea to follow,
the heart built bridge
of international impact,
is brightly wrapped
and sugared.

"Suffer the little children",
we didn't know then
what we need to know now.

Bright as a lion, a single smile
fills our open window,
no longer Fatherless,
the future gains a Name.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Suitcase Suite

As you spread a sun song
across the island,
my arm curls your pillow.

I recite my evening prayers
and photographs of our future,
fall one at a time
from the corners of the sky.

Angels, on the ready,
list to the side of the window box, 
pacing myself, I lay out clothes
for a run to the airport.

Clock set,
the day that brings us together,
has already spent
its midnight.

With dawn, your ocean,
still warm in memory,
will wade to me forever,
and, softened to you,
I'll cast off the shell
that kept me
from the beach.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I turn to see you rising
with the sun,
the number of days these hands
didn't touch you, are a rail of dust
between drawn blinds.

Slowly, caffeine and the Holy Ghost
bring my bones back
to the dance.
I remember a drum means
move this arm, the swinging hip,
once a signature,
begs for mercy.

There's yet a kiss here
and a doo-wop fit to turn tables.

Are you barefoot my Beretta ?

rejoin our jukebox marriage.
Drop the moon like a quarter
and push my G7.

It's only hours 'til Friday night
and I've got nothing on you,
that breath
won't take away.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


In the alley, we raised
arms to flight,
matching the kiss we threw
through windows of skirts
and police search lights.

Outside the theatre,
the music, late from switching cars,
put strings on a drum
and hung horns from the balcony,
where I proposed.

You asked what my hands knew
when you bit me;
why my heart stood guard,
where are the ribbons
that held our hips 'til morning,
how is a rainbow going to press
between pages of chocolate ?

We've rehearsed this promenade,
and now to the moon.
No fanfare,  just the bride
a down beat
and groom.

When a man, meaning me,
loves a woman, meaning you,
he leaves her his skin
and walks raw in the world,
gathering bits of halo
to make a home.

What returns to him,
brighter than frosted breath,
is the purpose of sun on roses,
an altar of stars
in bloom.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Worthy Gloves

The brown boots of the man
who lives here
fill the garden gate
with promise.
I'll stand firm as a fern
and flower, make hay
in the blaze of morning glory,
temper the loam
in raised beds.

What becomes a man the most
is the woman he becomes a man for,
every shovel turned and tapped.

Snake coil hose
asleep in nasturtium,
scamper cat, chickadee twitter,
half canvas half leather,
worthy gloves slide along
the long wood handle, as chores
bend toward the Lord's sunset.

The hands inside the gloves,
the feet inside the boots
await our evening's pairing.
Left to left, right
to righteous,
drizzling sweat begins to dazzle
as the dance of jeans and cotton shoulders
becomes a wish
at the end of a candle.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hummingbird Stop

Our red gladiolas
grow so close to the letterbox
they flag the mail carrier
to a hummingbird stop.

A stamp on the day,
postcard smile of a nephew
reading the box scores,
maybe mama needs news
of wrens loose in the kitchen.

Its all normal, Norman,
we pour five cent lemonade in 
forever cups and watch
the neighbors cinch lawn clippings
in neat nylon.

Not a shot fired,
not a screen door slammed,
sometimes, thank Jesus, the boogie man
just dances to the bass.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pocket Full of Worms

In Carolina we cut berries
thick as nickels,
makes more noise than
an apple plopping in a bowl.

I can't say breakfast
will last 'til lunch,
but a cup of coffee seems 
to roll like Scripture
from a preacher's tongue.

I'm settling in to some Southren ways,
I can whistle up a mockingbird
and I know if you oil boil
a pampano fish,
it'll swell up like a poison dog.

The heart warms quicker than bones,
root beer floating beneath the flag
in a white rocker just because it's sunny,
and that bit about the morning
ain't no lie.

In fact a dawn bloom magnolia
make you feel as home as a robin
with a pocket full of worms,
and then one Saturday,
you're up hand mowing the lawn,
as if you always cared.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


A servant's heart
doesn't beat his chest,
hand towel and soapy water
bringing light to the eyes
of the weary,
bended knee pouring grace
over the feet of the wounded
and war torn.

Mopping up the sweat of the world,
every janitor on the planet
knows something of that.
Nobody looking when you change
the water to water
and keep wiping tears.

Picking up after the children of God.
It's child's play. Tag.
You're it. No
tag's back.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Taking a Turn

EMS vehicles screaming by my
somebody's sunny day
taking a turn.

Angels with oxygen 
run up steps
check for vital signs...
ear to wisdom,
diligent hands,
a lamp onto thy feet...

My kitchen prayer shifts from chili
and crackers to the fate of a neighbor.
Background sirens just background
'til its our street,
'til its blood and breath,
life or death.

We trust the sterile gloves
to handle us, busy drivers
to pull aside, hospital doors,
shiny floors,
the technical, the medical...

Wheel the gurney into the new wing,
Intensive Prayer Unit,
the heart monitor reads two
or more gathered together,
mercy is a pulsing green line.

Friday, March 7, 2008


We've seen a little pain,
yellow McDonald's wrappers
more numerous than fish,
a missing row of crosses
aside the camouflaged road.
His Face set as flint
toward a new Jerusalem,
unarmoured innocents
slaughtered behind polling booth curtains.

The crusade's a broken record
written in a half language
shy of troublesome vowels.
A cup of water to the least of these
a silent, hidden page,
awaiting ink.

I tried tattooing scriptures
on my arms, but its the registered
heart that tells.
A pen is only mightier
than the sword
if you can read.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Short a Bloom

The March cardinal
keeps watch atop a budding pear.
Trill sergeant red above
the echoing trash men's
morning rounds.
Springer spaniel needs brushing,
loose matts of liver brown curl
scattered in the trees
for sparrow nests.

The tulip momento
of my Pastor's daughter's funeral
pushes through mud,
the yellow ones
we bought at market may blossom
sooner, but they won't match
the smile of her memorial

A man of the cloth
cut no different from the rest.
This spring will gain a flower
but be short a bloom.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Lap of the Lord

I lay my head
in the lap of the Lord.
The wrinkled clay of my brow
smoothed by His thumb.
In my hair His breeze
is a blue blanket to my soul,
His sunlight warm silk 
to my face.

The weight of my worries
gives way to prayer.
The problems of my bones
absolve in song. The bricks
around my heart become berries
to spread on toast.

All the sins of my tongue,
every boast, insult, and lie
melt into broth and butter.

As I lay my head in the lap of the Lord,
my eyes trace the Hand that moves the stars,
my ears echo with a brook voice
breaking over stones, even my toes
are glad in clover.

Let me vow to walk every corner I've cut
again, heel to toe,
straight and narrow.
Raise in me, dear God,
the artistry to repaint
every wall I've beat my head

I'm hungry now for the soup
I cried in. Let me blow
on the spoon of grace You give us,
bow my head
and dip my bread.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


You can mumble
into marbles,
grumble over peas,
stumble from your tiptoes
while you fumble for your keys,
tumble like a gymnast or
bumble like the bees,
as long as you are humble
you're heard.

Even if your tummy rumbles
He answers prayer.

Monday, March 3, 2008

When Color Goes Missing

The light of longest day
occurs in June,
when color goes missing
we call it night.

Dip our brush
in depths scooped out of us.
There's more room for wind.

Bible says we're clay,
we'll hold water 'til we break.
Drop the phone.
Let it echo in the canyon
eroding through us.

When my mom died
I started smoking Camels
on her grave.

When I heard about yours,
I quit.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Color to Cloth

Recycled wool splits the eye
of the hooking needle
to be plied into dragon rugs,
yellow scales rescued
from forgotten mittens.

The Spirit of the Lamb
spins the wheel
that brought these fibers
to my mother's hands.

Long coats of depression and
pants legs of sub-zero temperatures
find themselves in rose bush
or sea gull wing.

Bankers hang her carousel carpets
between sweeping surveillance cameras,
Turkish blue talismans soar
above Hopi sand snakes.

Taking the task of color to cloth
she'd soak and steam
a single sock to strain
strands of charcoal shade.

Investigating the promise of flight
these woven shreds afford,
I sit on my rug from Ma,
consecrating the umbilical skein
of heirlooms.